Between INNOSON & Z-600
Between INNOSON & Z – 600 : Igwenazor Chinaemerem
Z – 600 started the journey of indigenous automobile production in Nigeria. It was the needed catalyst that drifted the attention of many into vehicle manufacturing. Z- 600 was the dream child of an academic scholar Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu, a lecturer of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri Imo state, South East Nigeria. He showcased his invention to the world in the year 1997. As Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu was showcased his invention to the world in 1997, a decade later, some distance from Owerri at Nnewi Anambra state, Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma an astute Industrialist has registered his automobile manufacturing company – Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company [IVM]. IVM makers of INNOSON brand of automobiles on the other hand gave Nigeria her first indigenous commercial automobile company. Coincidentally, both men are worthy sons of Eastern Nigeria.
While the duo of Dr. Izuogu and Chief Chukwuma ventured into the arena of automobile production, one was successful while the other was not as lucky as the other. Both came from a long list of men who distinguished themselves in manufacturing/importation and sales of automobiles components, importation and sales of wholesome automobiles and also neck deep into road transportation across the country and the West African coast decades past. A cursory look into their journey so far speaks volume of kind of training, vision and mindset each developed in the course of their training.
The INNOSON brand is a product of IVM, solely owned by Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma. He is a product of ‘Igba-Boyi’ the Igbo Apprenticeship and Business Incubation System. The system whose certification is productivity and advancing trade and commerce. For him it was never a one swoop development, he metamohporsed from dealing on fairly used motorcycles, to new motorcycles and ended in automobile manufacturing. In his production line are Saloon cars, buses of various kinds, Sports Utility Vehicles [SUV], Pick Up vans, Firefighting machines et al. Being an entrepreneur, he utilized the idea of economics of comparative advantage – 70% of his vehicle parts are locally sourced while the remaining 30% are imported. He is a gigantic player in automobile manufacturing and the flagship of locally manufactured vehicles.
For Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu, his career in the automobile production took a totally different route. He was a product of Western education who distinguished himself as a doctorate degree holder in the field of Electrical Engineering. Via his research, he was able to conceptualize and produce the one and only Z – 600 whose 90% components was locally manufactured. His success with Z – 600 an SUV was a landmark achievement as no individual or organization has recorded such feat as at that time in Africa. It was a product of 14 years research. The federal government set up a 12-man committee, experts in the automotive industry and they gave the car a clean bill. On its unveiling at Owerri, the BBC named it …..The African dream machine.
Entreprenuership in Nigeria and the venture into mega business establishment is laced with lots of landmines, the two icons had their fair share, raw independently. Till date INNOSON has a lingering legal battle with one of his former bankers Guarantee Trust Bank – GTB. This legal tussle can crumble and swallow all that INNOSON has labored for should he lose. It is on record that he is following the whole threat with every intellectual acumen available at his disposal. For Dr. Izuogu he was blown off by the landmines. After the accolades that greeted his invention, the government was foot dragging on the funds to set his production line up when he was invited by the South African government to present his invention to a class of world class engineers backed by an invitation to set up a manufacturing plant in South Africa. Unfortunately, on the night of 11th March, about 12 armed men stormed his factory at Naze, Owerri Imo state and carted away various machines and tools. Also the history and production file of Z – 600, the detailed Z- Mass a document for its mass production, various moulds meant for the manufacturing of its components got lost. Till date there is no published findings on who did the dastard act. That was the demise of Z – 600.
The duo has a lot in common as they have extended their know how in the field. INNOSON has gone a step higher to design and produce military gears – Igirigi, a rugged armored vehicle. Also, he has helped produce some replacement parts for the Nigerian Air Force planes. For Dr. Izuogu, he is the patent owner of Izuogu engine. Izuogu engine according him is a rare engine in the area of Emagnetodynamics. Albeit his last invention has been used in Nigeria while it is enjoyed in various countries abroad. The said engine works against some established engineering rules – the engine works with no fuel and generates its own energy. The Izuogu engine is patented by him at the World International Property Organization.
For the inventive geniuses of the duo, Nigeria would have been on a smooth road to industrialization if the government were interested in them. Unlike the Israelis as detailed in the book Start Up Nations, such people are supported to create export items. If INNOSON was made a national vehicle like Peogout years back, it would have cut down the joblessness in the nation to a great extent. On the other hand, if the Emagnatodynamics Izuogu engine is manufactured in Nigeria and shipped to the world, it would have been a great international trade supplying Nigeria with foreign currencies.
- Govt input as in Israel not available
- How I wish there will be a synergy between the 2